A Glossary of Writerly Jargon

If you’re new (or even not so new) to the world of writing, you may have discovered that us writerly folks have our own jargon. Even if you’re not a writer, if you’re an avid reader you’ve probably associated with enough writers (and/or literary critics) to have heard some odd terms being tossed about. So I thought I’d help you out with this small starter list of writerly words and abbreviations. This is by no means a comprehensive glossary – I’ve just tried to pick some of the most common or weird-sounding terms.

WIP

This stands for Work in Progress. A short story in its first draft or a novel in its third draft is a WIP if it’s unpublished and the author is still working on it.

MC

MC stands for Main Character. There are a lot of other terms to define character types (like protagonist, anti-hero) and one of these may or may not be the main character. But if you’re reading about a writer or a book and you see “MC,” it just means Main Character.

Mary Sue (or Gary Stu)

This is a character that is “too perfect.” A Mary Sue character is often super-model beautiful, multi-talented and excels at everything without trying hard, is loved by everyone, and makes few or no mistakes. A Mary Sue (or Gary Stu for a male character) frequently is an idealized version of the author, and the story can read like a contrived excuse to showcase the author’s perfect fantasies. Continue reading

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New Fairy Gardens

Some time ago I wrote a few posts about a fairy garden that I was creating in my back yard. It was a fun venture, building the door, sculpting the mossy yard. I’m not sure what it looks like now – I moved over a year ago. Probably the forest has taken over, which is fine with me – there’s something almost magical about nature re-claiming something that has been built.

Now that I have a new house and a new yard, I’m slowly getting to work on some new fairy gardens. My yard is very different from the previous one – much less shady and wooded, for starters. I love my new yard, but since this was actually my first full spring and summer in this house, I spent most of the time simply learning what was in my yard and how it changed through the seasons. Continue reading

Book Nerd Problems: Organizing Your Bookshelf

For us book lovers, there are probably as many ways to organize a book shelf as there are people who do it. There’s no right or wrong way – I believe that as long as you can find the books you want when you want them and are generally happy with the overall appearance, then that’s all that matters.

I’m currently facing a new and exciting problem – having more space than I’ve ever had before in which to organize and display my books. Ultimately, I’d love to have a giant Beauty and the Beast-style library – but until I marry a rich bookish prince with castle, I have to make do with the four bookshelves I’ve got. My bookshelves are all different sizes (1 large, 2 small, 1 teeny), and are in three different rooms in my house. Of course I can add more bookshelves if needed, but right now I have enough shelf space with a little to spare. The main issue I’m having now is deciding how I want to arrange all my books. Continue reading

Explain It All or Let the Reader Figure It Out?

Someone asked me recently about where a writer should draw the line between explaining something in painstaking detail versus just glossing over a topic and letting the reader try to figure it out on their own. It’s a complex question, really, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

What was really interesting, though, was that right on the heels of this question, I had an experience in my critique group that not only did NOT answer that question, but highlighted how there truly isn’t a right or wrong answer.

First off, let me say that I absolutely love all of my critique partners, and our times together are full of valuable feedback, learning experiences, and lots of fun. One of the elements that makes a good critique group, I think, is having a diverse group of writers who all have different writing styles, favorite genres, and writing experiences. Continue reading

In Defense of Happy Endings

Lately I’ve realized something in my reading and writing habits: I like happy endings. This is not a new realization, really, but I started thinking about it recently in a new and deeper way.

As a kid, I loved Disney movies and similar stories, where everything was tied up in a neat little bow and they all lived happily ever after. I didn’t like feeling sad, and so I sought out happy stories with happy endings.

As an adult, I still like happy stories with happy endings—but there’s more to it than that. It’s not as much about everything ending on a perfect tidy note, but more about ending on a strong or redemptive note. Continue reading

Summer 2018 Update – Writing and Other Shenanigans

For anyone who follows this blog, and/or is wondering what I’ve been up to of late, here it is in a short summary: not writing.

I’ve missed several weeks of blogging here and there over the past few months, and I’m embarrassingly behind on my writing goals for my current dieselpunk series. So it’s more “other shenanigans” rather than writing that I’ve been doing this summer. Continue reading